Saturday, 20 August 2011

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Overheard 2 [Review]


Opinion: B

Same lead cast and thematic material, but different story and characters. Interestingly, Overheard 2 is more of a reboot of itself than a sequel that allows Writers-Directors Alan Mak and Felix Chong an opportunity to show off their screenplay flair. Packing a solid story that thrills and entertains, Overheard 2 also features one of the best performance by Daniel Wu alongside Louis Koo and seasoned veteran Lau Ching Wan.


Manson Law (Lau Ching Wan), a celebrated stockbroker in Hong Kong is injured in a car accident. The police, led by Inspector Jack Ho (Louis Koo), discovers a military surveillance device in the car wreck. Meanwhile, the wiretapper Joe (Daniel Wu) is unveiling his extensive plan that targets the mysterious financial conglomerate, the Landlord Club. The fate of these three men soon intertwines in the cat-and-mouse game that may bring down the entire stock market.


Overheard 2, like its predecessor, is a financial thriller that debates iconic mortal sins like greed and moral conscience.

As it takes up a position within the stock market to slowly build its story and introduce its characters, certain financial market lingo might cause some unsuspecting audience who are unfamiliar with finance to spin out of their attention span easily. Thankfully, the reliance on such to propel the story isn't as strong as say Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and is only a tool to keep the plot dense.

Overheard 2 is more of a self-reboot with a brand new story that similarly features phone-tapping/surveillance within a financial setting. Compared to the first film, it is more serious in tone and even the usual jester-like Louis Koo adopts a cool demeanour as a troubled cop with a past dilemma of blood ties versus moral judgement. It's the type of background profile that you want your characters to have in films like this. But not every lead character has a concise one like Koo's.

Daniel Wu's character, Joe, is one that lurks between the lines of right and wrong, constantly surprising the audience with a continual shift of role between an antagonist and a protagonist. You'll never know where his true faith lies, as his origins aren't exactly clear. His character is the best among the three leads in my opinion. Not only is it vaguely intriguing, but also ultimately one that we will end up sympathising.

This leads to one of the better performances by Daniel Wu in Overheard 2.

Surprisingly for a dense plotted film like this, the actors didn't seem to have invested much heavy acting to instill the dramatic elements typically demanded of such genre. Lau and Koo are comfortable in their roles as always and render good but not exceptional performances. Possibly due to a reduced focus on actor-driven characterisation, the writing-directing duo relies firmly on their screenplay to deliver the goods.

Despite so, Kenneth Tsang played his villainous role to perfection and is a good case study of how humanity degenerates with accumulating sins that beget more sins derived from the greed of money. Maybe there's a reason for an old saying "Money is the root of all evil".

Cinematography by Anthony Pun is fine and I especially noticed how several of the shots are very well-framed. Pun also lensed this year's Shaolin earlier. The original music scored by Chan Kwong Wing (of the Infernal Affairs Trilogy and Bodyguards and Assassins fame), is full of influential mystique and rock-riffed rhythmic beats that fit the film's theme aptly although not outstanding.

There is one action scene in particular that gave my heart a good workout, where Joe escapes on a motorbike from a pursuit by professional hitmen. This incidentally is the only action scene in the film, where the other exhilarating scenes are those involving frantic stock market exchange dealings.

Overheard 2 will likely be a film easily overshadowed by the other major blockbuster releases. This may seem to be a risky share on the cinema listing in the eyes of most, but it's really high on returns.

Trust me, I'm your friendly cinematic pundit.


6 comments:

  1. I surely will trust your review and give this a chance :)

    I think I've skipped so many releases including the lousy Barbarian remake and I don't think I will ever give that film a watch.

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  2. @Jaccstev I thought this was a good release this week amidst the other lacklustre ones (although I've yet to see them all). I'm not sure if you'll like it like I did, but I hope at least you'll approve of it.

    Indeed, Conan was pretty senseless to me. Just footage of blood and violence.

    Thanks for your kind words and your faith in mine! :D

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  3. Looks interesting. (:

    hahaa, btw, check out my latest short film. :] THANKSS! :D

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  4. I loved both Overheard and Overheard 2. The combination of the 3 actors work! Whether as one team in the first movie or on opposing sides in the 2nd one =)

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  5. @JEMSEN I've checked out your short film, good effort! :D

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  6. @Lilian Hi Lilian, I'm glad that you took similar liking to Overheard 2 as well as its previous. I agree with you that the actors work really well in synergy, and I especially liked the performance of Daniel Wu in this film.

    Thanks for dropping by and following! :)

    ReplyDelete

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